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Intern to AE – How getting a PR admin role as a student kick started my career

Lily Clamp

Account Executive

Last year I was finishing my degree at Sussex Uni in Cultural and Media Studies and the thought of it coming to an end was incredibly daunting. The pressure to now launch myself into a career, and be successful, was real.

But here I am, a year later, established as an AE at an exciting agency that specialises in brand design PR, which brings together many of my interests, and of course my desire to work in public relations. And it all started with one email.

The opportunity

I first came across Red Setter after my lecturer sent an email to everyone on the PR module saying they were looking for PR admins. At this time, I wasn’t sure where I’d be in 6 months’ time when uni came to an end, but I knew I was ready for something new.

It was a paid (which unfortunately isn’t always the case, especially with final year uni students looking to get their foot into the door) part-time position which was perfect to go alongside completing my dissertation and final term studying at Sussex.

When they offered me the position, I was so excited to finally take the first step of my career and was ready to delve into the world of creative PR.

Hands on experience

This wasn’t the coffee run kind of internship. I was quickly welcomed into the team and immediately started helping with a huge range of tasks. From media coverage tracking and filling out reports to drafting pitches and social media posts and being involved in news launches.

Beside the day-to-day work, being part of the bigger team was really exciting and I was invited to take part in nights out, from karaoke at Lucky voice, beers on the beach and even the annual team weekend away, last year in Porto!


Now a year on I’m a full-time account executive on the team and look back on my time as PR admin as incredibly valuable. I have learned a huge amount and I am so excited to continue working with the inspiring, supportive team and our brilliant clients in brand design.

It’s a big change, moving from student-life to full-time work and being able to intern made the experience a lot easier; to understand the inner workings and expectations of life in a busy and exciting PR agency.

Seeking out an internship would be my advice to anyone thinking of career in PR, but here’s how I made the internship work for me and secure my dream job:

  1. Mentorship: seek guidance from colleagues and always seek out opportunities for mentorship – don’t be afraid to ask questions! There’s a lot to learn from different people, with different expertise.
  2. Take advantage of feedback: ask for regular feedback it will help you grow and achieve better things.
  3. Initiative: look for areas where you can contribute and offer solutions or suggestions. Although you may not have the most experience – you are a fresh pair of eyes with new thoughts and perspectives which is so valuable.
  4. Adaptability: be adaptable and open to new challenges.
  5. Learn: take advantage of training and educational opportunities. At Red Setter, we have weekly training which includes a mix of internal and external trainers and speakers on everything from the history of the brand to vocal confidence.
  6. Build your portfolio: keep a record of your accomplishments and add to it regularly. It’s great to look back and see everything you’ve achieved – I find that it’s a great motivator.
  7. Stay organised: working across accounts it’s so important to keep track of your tasks and deadlines to stay on top of things. I love to-do lists and Trello boards!

And finally, be proactive, don’t wait for that email. I was lucky that it was an email that kick started my career, but I realise now that it’s much better to be proactive, so get out there and make your own opportunities.

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